Washington/Kabul, May 28 (ANI): The U.S. military surge in Afghanistan is on.
According to Fox News, there are tens of thousands of Marines fresh on the ground in Afghanistan, including more than 13,000 in the Helmand River Valley, under the command of Brigadier General Joseph Osterman.
Many of these Marines are now laying the groundwork for future operations and establishing relationships with local tribal elders and government officials.
"A lot less kinetic activity (like gun battles)" says General Osterman, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Channel at Forward Operating Base Payne, "and much more on the non-kinetic side.
"Not as glamorous or sensational as clearing operations.." the General adds.
The Marines are working every angle. They're offering seed to farmers at a cut rate price and offering classes on how to better work their land. They're having sit-downs with tribal elders to establish trust and spread the word that they're here to establish security and provide aid, asking in exchange that locals share information on Taliban insurgents.
"It's a slow build of confidence... we'll establish a security presence, patrolling, talking to people and it almost creates a security bubble. Within that, we find more and more people will talk to us and it gets harder and harder for the insurgents to work against us."
So far there's been very little push-back from the enemy in this region south and west of Kandahar, but the General expects it's coming.
"The first thing they'll do is try to stand up to us, do attacks and very rapidly realize that's a losing proposition because we end capturing and killing quite a number of them and then what they generally do is move into a more indirect approach, use of the IED's (improvised explosive devices, like roadside bombs), then they start to move into desperation mode... they get into a murder and intimidation campaign," the general says.
General Osterman says this won't last long.
"It's a losing proposition. They very quickly alienate the population," he says, and adds that's when the Marines believe they can help the Afghanis stand up and reclaim their country for themselves.
When the people are convinced, the General insists, they'll be a giant step closer to establishing security, stability and peace. (ANI)